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Webinar: Graduate Student Seminar – “Reaching Consensus on the Treatment of Toxicodendron Dermatitis (Poison Ivy)”

September 18, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

“Reaching Consensus on the Treatment of Toxicodendron Dermatitis (Poison Ivy)” will be presented by Melissa Butt, MPH, doctoral candidate in public health and research project manager in the  Department of Dermatology at Penn State College of Medicine.

Toxicodendron dermatitis (TD) is a common form of allergic contact dermatitis that affects millions of Americans every year. Despite such a high incidence, only approximately 8% of cases are treated by dermatologists who specialize in this condition. As a result, there are a number of inconsistencies in the treatment of TD, with a significant number of cases being treated suboptimally, leading to increased cost for the patient. Thus, the objective of this study was to reach consensus on the treatment of TD.

This study utilized sequential mixed methods including the use of a focus group and Delphi-style surveys. Themes from the focus group were used to create the first round of the Delphi survey. The Delphi survey was sent to attending physicians in dermatology. Results from each Delphi round were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as proportions of agreement. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using NVivo Version 12 and quantitative data was analyzed using SAS Version 9.4.

The focus group included six board-certified dermatologists. Discussion indicated that mild cases can be treated with topical corticosteroids, and more severe cases require oral corticosteroids. The focus group also emphasized the avoidance of short duration oral corticosteroids (such as 5-day methylprednisolone). Round 1 of the Delphi included responses from 50 dermatologists and supported these claims with 91.8% and 93.8% of providers agreeing that topical corticosteroids are the recommended treatment for mild and moderate TD, respectively. An additional 32.6% agreed that oral corticosteroids could be added to treat moderate TD. Nearly all providers (98.0%) agreed that oral corticosteroids are recommended for the treatment of severe TD with 73.9% also agreeing that topical corticosteroids can be included. In regard to duration of treatment, 81.2% and 85.7% of providers agree that oral corticosteroids should be prescribed for 11 to 21 days for moderate and severe TD, respectively.

As TD is often treated by providers outside of the field of dermatology, a guide to treat TD can provide a template for providers to follow, which can help reduce the need for additional follow-up care and/or disease complications (such as rebound dermatitis). Future studies will be needed to test the effectiveness of this algorithm in a non-dermatological setting.

Join the seminar via Zoom

Participants may also join by calling 929-205-6099, meeting ID 930 0157 8370. If prompted, enter passcode 492862.


September 18
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Department of Public Health Sciences

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